Norway’s Statoil is homing in on a final development solution for its stalled Johan Castberg field project in the Barents Sea after awarding local contractor Kongsberg Oil & Gas Technologies (KOGT) conceptual study and pre-FEED work.
The jury is currently out at the state-owned operator on the solution for the frontier Arctic field after a final concept selection was recently postponed until next summer.
Statoil earlier shelved a proposed $15 billion concept involving a semi-submersible production unit with 280-kilometre pipeline to an onshore terminal due to high costs, a tax hike and resource uncertainty.
A recent drilling effort has failed to find sufficient additional resources to support such a hub concept, which could be used to tie in future nearby discoveries, although it still remains on the table along with a competing solution involving a standalone floating production, storage and offloading vessel that is likely to be cheaper.
KOGT will now carry out an extended concept study as well as pre-front-end engineering and design work on the field’s flowline and riser systems, due to be completed by June 2015.
No value was disclosed for the award.
The contract, which is an extension of conceptual design work completed earlier this summer, also includes integrated engineering services on the design, according to the contractor.
KOGT stated in a release that it will “perform design optimisation, value engineering on alternative technical solutions and in general mature the design further, taking in approved solutions from design optimisations and value engineering”.
It will also have the role as leading interface contractor for the project.
The Johan Castberg project aims to tap estimated oil and gas resources of between 400 million and 600 million barrels of oil equivalent at the Skrugard, Havis and Drivis discoveries, located in a water depth of between 360 and 405 metres.
Statoil operates the field in production licence 532 with a stake of 50%, with partners Eni and Petoro on 30% and 20% respectively.
Further exploration drilling work is planned in the Barents region this year to prove up additional resources, with the Ensis well now under way and further wildcats lined up at the Pingvin and Isfjell prospects, as well as possibly Saturn and Askepott.
Pingvin lies to the west of Johan Castberg and Isfjell to the north, with the prospects located respectively in Statoil-operated PLs 713 and 714.